Today we’re picking up with where we left off in last Monday’s chat about superfoods. I told you all about sea buckthorn, why it’s great and where to get it, and today I’ve got another personal favourite to share with you. So without further delay…
Aloe Vera 101
You’ve probably seen this growing somewhere, and perhaps you even have some in your garden! My first introduction to aloe vera was after getting a really nasty sunburn one summer while laying out at the pool a little longer than I should have. My forehead was peeling within a few hours of coming inside and the shower I took the next morning was one of the most painful experiences of my life!
My next aloe encounter was much more pleasant, and it happened back when I lived in the Middle East. I used to get regular acne facials done by a family friend who turned me on to using aloe vera juice as a skin toner. It was gentle, cooling, and totally natural.
Fast forward to now, 26-year-old Angela who has experienced her fair share of acne, a few bad sunburns, and a whole lot of digestive issues. Thankfully, with experience has come a lot of learning, and when I heard that aloe is just as well known for its digestive healing properties as its skin and hair-beautifying powers, I was all over giving it a try.
Here’s a few very quick reasons why aloe is worth your time:
- The gel within its leaves has cooling properties, making it great for soothing and taking the heat out of sunburnt skin, as well as other skin conditions like acne and rosacea. I LOVE rubbing aloe gel on my face after a post-workout shower because it cools me off immediately.
- The juice is full of vitamins (A, C, E, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12 and folic acid), minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, selenium and zinc) and amino acids that help the body to get rid of toxins. Because aloe is jelly-like (similar to chia seeds), it helps to sweep toxins from throughout the intestines.
- It can help to boost the immune system, thanks to the polysaccharides inside that stimulate white blood cells to fight attacks on the body.
- Just like soothing skin, it also soothes the digestive system. This makes aloe a great solution for people who deal with IBS and other digestive conditions. (Just be sure to start off small at first – a couple of tablespoons is all you need in smoothie/juice recipes)
- Aloe’s vitamins, high moisture content and enzymes help to nourish and hydrate skin and hair
Where to get it
If it’s the juice you’re after (which is what I used as a facial toner back in the day), Lily of the Desert makes aloe gel and aloe juice. Source matters, and based on what I’ve read, this is a very reputable brand. Alternatively, you could just go straight to the source and grow some yourself! Getting the gel and juice out is super easy, and all you need is a knife and a fresh aloe leaf. A great big smile isn’t required, but it’s highly recommended. 😉
Here’s a step by step tutorial to show you how:
One of my favourite ways to consume aloe (a little goes a long way – more is not necessarily better) is in smoothie form, like this one:
Aloe-ha Mango Green Smoothie
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 0 mins
Ingredients (1 serving)
- 1 big fistful mixed greens (I used a mix of Swiss chard, romaine and spinach)
- 2/3 cup mango, peeled and diced
- 1 scoop Vega Performance Protein or Vega One in vanilla – optional. This smoothie still tastes great without the added protein.
- 1 1/2 cups coconut water or water
- 2 tbsp aloe vera gel
- 2 tsp chia seeds
- 1/2 lime, peeled
- Add all ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth.
- Add a little more ice or chia seeds to thicken the texture, if desired.
- Pour and enjoy!
So tell me…
- Are you an aloe fan? How do you use it?
- Are there any food-related how-to’s you’d like to see featured here, or foods you wish you knew how to incorporate into meals?